Recently, Steve wrote a piece on how brands can manage their reputation on social media, in which he revealed that as much as brands want to control what’s said about them on social media, the power really is out of their hands. Consumers will say what they want to say – it’s as simple as that.
So how can brands best deal with any complaints raised on their social media channels? Here are five basic (but crucial) tips…
1. Get back to the complainant as soon as possible
Even if you don’t have a full response ready just yet, reassure the complainant that you are looking into their concern and will get back to them as soon as you can. At least then they know you’re taking their worries seriously.
2. Make your response worthwhile
Don’t simply send a response saying: “Please call/email our Customer Services Team to discuss your concern…” This won’t work. Deal with the issue head on by getting the hard facts in real time, i.e. if you’re a mobile network and someone complains about an outage, ask them where they are, how long they’ve had the problem etc. Be pro-active.
This has two benefits – firstly, you’re treating the complainant as an individual… after all, one solution doesn’t fit all problems.
Secondly, it sends a message to the greater public that you don’t just get involved in the good stuff; you’re willing to do whatever it takes to help solve any problems, too. Sending complainants to a phone line or email address hides the issue – the total opposite of what this approach hopes to achieve.
3. Don’t talk like a robot
Listen to the complainant’s tone and style of message. Reflect this when compiling your responses. Doing so will help the complainant relate more effectively to your brand and will show that you’re really making an effort to build a strong relationship with them.
4. Remember: Feedback is your friend
If the complainant raises an issue that isn’t so much a current problem as it is an ongoing frustration with your product or service, don’t be afraid to ask them what they would like to see from it in the future. They may have a truly innovative idea; one that could shape the future of your brand’s offerings. Plus, it shows you really care about what your customers want; it’s win-win.
5. Above all, be honest
If you screwed up, admit it – don’t shy away from the problem or blame it on a third party. Relate to their concerns and show that you understand that whatever happened just isn’t good enough. Also, tell the complainant what you’re doing to fix the issue, as this may just save the relationship.